’tis the season

On this, the winter solstice, just a few days before the big birthday party, we’re expecting a snow storm. Sure, everyone’s dreaming of a white Xmas, and we will surely have one. The threat of travel-crippling snow has everyone in a frenzy, stocking up on the essentials, and additionally trying to finish their holiday food and gift shopping before the first flake falls.

If you read my previous blog, you know that I’m not a fan of the season. Now layer that with a historic snow prediction. We’re talking wind, rain that freezes and then snows on top, making highways treacherous and not advisable. Power outages could plague us, even if we’re tucked in, safely at home. When we get a forecast such as this, we all race to the stores to purchase milk, bread, and toilet paper, just in case we’re stuck inside for a few days. Store shelves become sparse, lines to check out grow, and all the chatter is about the upcoming weather event.

So, I have plenty of food to feed my family for a few days. However, I’m responsible for a veggie platter for the Xmas day gathering. I figured today might be my last chance to grab the cucumbers and peppers and hummus, assuming the next two days will be no-no days for driving. Available parking spaces were limited to the back end of the lot, unless one happened upon an exiter.

I entered Meijer focused. I knew what I needed and I knew I could find my items swiftly. I used the Shop & Scan app as I went and when it was time to get into line to do the final check out, I was absolutely astounded by the length of the lines for self-check out. And the lines to have a cashier ring up the order? Even longer. I was flabbergasted. I’ve been using the grocery pick-up service for the last couple of years, so I’m no longer seasoned when it comes to shopping in-store. Particularly before a holiday, on the brink of a snow storm.

I’m no hero. I do pride myself on being logical. This sequence of upcoming events and the crowded parking lot had me grabbing a cart from the corral as I walked in. The arriving customers that were surprised there were no carts available inside the store had me chuckling. Allow us to temper expectations, people, when the circumstances are as they are. Admittedly, however, I was struck still in the produce aisle as there was not a single cucumber in sight. Is this the start of the predicted (by some) food shortage? Or is this just an overwhelmed and understaffed grocery store? I considered depriving my family of cucumbers, but decided I’d go ahead and swing over across the street to Sam’s Club to finish the shop.

As expected, Sam’s Club was also busy. I quickly got my items and paid via Scan & Go, thus skipping the lengthy lines. Until I tried to leave. On a normal day, a Tuesday afternoon during a non-holiday season, I loathe the exit process at Sam’s Club. Stop me if I’ve complained about this already. I bought two items. I had the impulse to push my way to the door and run for my vehicle. Would there be a consequence? It’s not like I was stealing. I paid for the eggs and cucumbers via the app.

The line was barely moving due to some technology difficulty at the door. Thankfully a Sam’s staffer jumped in and got the line moving. Since I scanned & went, my receipt was on my cell phone.The exit attendant scanned my phone with a little cell phone sized handheld, and then both of my items. What happened to the days of eyeballing and counting items in the cart? Why did I have to wait in a ridiculous line to have someone rescan the items I had just scanned? If anyone from Costco corporate is reading this, please do NOT go the way of Sam’s Club. This is the dumbest advancement they’ve ever made.

I made it safely home as the world dimmed, preparing for our longest darkness. I survived the last minute run into stores with little frustration because I used the technology to avoid the longest lines. (Except you, Sam’s Club. Shooting yourself in the foot, there.) Now I can sit and wait for the snow, which may or may not come with as much fury as we’ve been frightened into expecting. I hope my peppers and cucumbers will keep fresh. And if we do end up with a snow-day on Friday, I’m making omelets.

I love words. Words swirl and dance around in my head. I have many deep thoughts. Some thoughts plague me. In order to release them, I have to assign the words. Once the words are strung together, I feel free again.

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